2. A Strategic Lifestyle Plan
I didn’t retire from a job. I retired from a career. My third career.
After a relatively short career as a software engineer, I transitioned into a career as a Product Manager for high-tech firms. Then, in my 40s, I became an entrepreneur, helping to start and grow a company that provided intelligent Wi-Fi solutions for mobile computers and medical devices.
I enjoyed each of my careers. You may love yours. Or you may hate it and fantasize about not having to go to work anymore. Regardless of how you feel about it, though, leaving it will leave a void in your life. After all, God designed work to be an integral part of your life.
Your job, or career, may be a part of your identity. When you meet someone, after learning his or her name, what’s the first thing you typically ask? “What do you do for a living?” Or, more simply, “What do you do?”
How will you answer that question when you retire? Not for other people, but for yourself? What do you do?
There are two approaches to planning your post-retirement lifestyle: tactical and strategic.
In a tactical approach, you consider how you will fill your time week to week. There are things that you must do, things that you should do, and things that you want to do. Here are some examples of each:
- Things that you must do: eat, sleep, pay your bills, maintain your home and automobiles, replace worn-out things
- Things that you should do: exercise, eat right, get regular wellness checkups, keep your mind sharp, have a daily quiet time, read your Bible more
- Things that you want to do: lose weight, travel, improve your golf game, read more books, write your memoirs, spend more time with your grandchildren
My experience is that, when you have only a tactical plan, your days and weeks start to run together, and you start to drift. You no longer have the many stresses that came with your job, but you don’t have the goals, motivation, and meaning that you had when you were working.
That’s why you need a strategic plan for your life after retirement. In that plan, you lay out objectives or goals, define your approach for achieving or accomplishing them, and determine metrics for measuring your progress. If it helps, then think of yourself as an entrepreneur embarking on a new venture, and a new adventure.
Want to see more of your friends go deeper in their faith with God? You can start a men’s ministry at your church. Want to help the needy in your community? You can meet with the leadership team at your local Salvation Army. Want to pass on some of the knowledge and experience that you have gained? Maybe you can teach at a local community college or create your own YouTube channel and upload virtual classes that you create.
You can have as many post-retirement “careers” as you want.
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